ASF started the International Programme in Germany in 1995. Today there are approximately 18 volunteer placements. The volunteers come from the USA, Israel, and different European countries, including Germany itself. ASF prefers working with volunteers from partner countries.
The International Volunteer Programme is an exciting experience for both ASF and its volunteers. People from varying cultures live, work and learn together for the course of a year. During the seminars, an exchange of the relevance of history in countries and families takes place. How is history remembered differently, here versus there? And how are our relationships and our actions shaped in the present? It is interesting for the foreign volunteers to experience how societies in both the former German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany dealt with the violent experiences of National Socialism, and how it relates to Germany today. International volunteers add their own varying perspectives on the German monologue about history, they ask questions and at the end, they also take questions home to their own societies.
Volunteers in Germany work at memorial sites and museums, visit older people in the Jewish community and former concentration camp prisoners, support people with disabilities, and work with human rights organizations. Most of the projects are located in cities. Often there are at least 2, or even more, volunteers in one place.
Volunteers in the German programme should be interested in working with international groups, other cultures and history. Good knowledge of the German language is very important – not only for the project work and everyday life, but also for communication with the international volunteer group. Many volunteers work in the field of historical-political education, making good knowledge of German necessary.
ASF projects for volunteers in Germany
Currently, about 20 ASF volunteers from various countries work in Germany:
• in social organizations, espeically supporting older people,
mostly former victims of the Nazi regime and their families.
• in historical and political education,
mostly in memorial sites of former concentration camps
• in political education and public relations work supporting human rights and anti-racism initiatives
Some volunteers combine projects, dealing with two different organizations. They combine social and educational or PR work projects.